Thegolden rule that runs through the web of criminal jurisprudence is that ‘the accused is presumed to be innocent untilthe guilt is proved’. The onerous responsibility to prove all the ingredientsof an offence rests upon the prosecution. If the prosecution has not proved theguilt according to the standards of proof, there arises a reasonable doubt andthe accused gets benefit of acquittal. However,this is not a immutable principle. Exceptions enumerated under sec 105 and sec106 place a part of burden of proof on the accused to prove facts which arewithin his knowledge. Sec 113-A of the evidence act raises a presumption as to abetmentof suicide by a married woman by her husband or his relatives.
Similarly, sec114-A raises presumption of absence of consent in a rape cases. The evidentialburden is on accused.1Thesaid rule does not reduce the burden on the prosecution to prove that theaccused has committed the offence beyond the reasonable standards. The legalpresumption under sec 105 with the words “the court shall presume the absenceof such circumstances” is not intended to displace the aforesaid traditionalburden of the prosecution. It is only where the prosecution has proved its casewith reasonable certainty that court can depend upon the presumptions regardingabsence of circumstances falling under any of the exceptions. the presumptionshelps the court to determine the on whom is the burden to prove facts necessaryto attract the exception. Unlike the prosecution, the accused can be dischargedthe burden of proof based on the ‘preponderance of probabilities’ 2 Itis also equally well settled principle that suspicion however strong cannottake place of proof.
There is indeed a difference between ‘accused may have committedthe crime’ and ‘accused must have committed the crime’. Thisevidential burden is on the prosecution to prove the guilt by adducing thereliable and cogent evidence. Presumption of innocence has also been recognisedas an important human right which cannot be disregarded in Indian criminaljurisprudence as well as human rights prespective.
3Thesame concept has been reiterated in the decision by the supreme court as”Everyaccused is presumed to be innocent unless his guilt is proved. The presumptionof innocence is a human right subject to statutory exceptions, the saidprinciple forms the basis of criminal jurisprudence in India”41 P.N.Krishna Lal v.Govt. of Kerala, 1995Supp (2)S.
2 Periasami v. State ofTamilnadu(1996)6 SCC 457.3 Narendra Singh v. State of M.
P (2004) 10 SCC 699.4 Ganesan v. RamaRaghuraman, (2011) 2 SCC 83